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Site-inspection: Willemdok in Antwerp and blind phenomenon Dirk de Goede
Posted by Pim ter Linde , August 6 at 19:29
Next to Maastricht also Antwerp is an important incentive destination for CPE. So we continued our study-trip via the Belgian Limbourg Kempen towards the Sinjorencity. Things honestly divided: the captain nicely in the sun (sometimes) on deck and mrs. Peters downstairs in her office busy fine-tuning the coming events. With the modern communication this goes without any problem.

Like the Bassin in Maastricht the Willemdok is a restaurated historic harbour, only much bigger and a little bit further away from the centre. At times before we used to tank 2000 litres of cheap red diesel. But unfortunately those times are over. The nice thing of sailing with a motorboat is, that it’s in principal completely self-supporting. Engine, electricity, water, cooling and for all of this there are all sorts of little motors and pumps. What’s less nice of sailing with a ship is, that there is always a thing that fails you. If it’s a detail then you wait for the next service check, is it bigger, for example in this case the hydrophoor, than action has to be taken. The hydrophoor takes care of pressure on the water on the entire ship. Is it broken, than you don’t have water to make coffee, you can’t take a shower or flush the toilet.

A good advise was given by a friend of ours, Antoinette van Doorn living in the Koninklijke Entrepot at the Willemdok. “I called Dirk de Goede and he’s coming to help you. He’s a perfect mechanic”. We nodded gladly. “By the way, he’s blind”. We swallowed, but stayed glad. Dirk de Goede used to be the harbourmaster of the Willemdok, but became blind in 5 months time and got fired immediately. Apparently this can be done in Belgium. In the meantime he lives with his “zoeteke” (Belgian word for “sweet thing”) – as he names her – Anjes on a living-boat close to the Willemdok and they breed beautiful flatcoat retrievers. Dirk came with Anjes – his eyes – on board, dived into the machine room and came to the conclusion that the motor and the rubber ball in the compressor needed to be replaced. Those are complicated repairs. “It’s going to be all right. I have a blind trust in this” he said with a grin. After this we breathlessly followed how a blind technician did his job. Exactly knowing how to handle and not for a moment in doubt. The engine of the old motor made a kind of screaming sound – as usual – whenever you opened a crane. The new one we hardly hear. A soft buzz somewhere from down under. Every time we hear this sound in the distance it remembers us to Dirk and his “zoeteke”.

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